Dropping The Idea of a “Soul-Career”

Dropping The Idea of a “Soul-Career”

soul-job

Soul Mates.  The romantic idea of one person made just for you.  No others could ever bring love and joy and fulfillment.  Just him.  Just her.  Is this romantic notion fact or fiction?  Some hold to this concept like a religion and spend their life searching for and holding onto the one person who completes them.  Others scoff at the idea of there only being one in a sea of billions.

Whether or not you hold to the idea of soul mates, most of us do hold to the idea of “soul-careers.”  And I think it hurts some of us.  Let me explain.

I used to think I must have a soul-career: one tangible career that would lead me into my 50s or 60s happily and successfully.  This idea terrified me.  How was I going to choose THE ONE?  What if I regretted my choice and wanted to breakup from my career?  Would the 45 year old me still be into it?

The Boyfriend and I were talking about how amazing it is to work for ourselves in creative fields while living in various countries throughout the globe, but we both wondered if this was something we’d want to do forever.  If not, what do we do then?!

But I remembered something: life is full of weird twists and turns you could never expect.  Our careers may be like that too.  And even though the core of who we are may stay the same, we are still evolving and changing creatures.  Yet, we sometimes tie our hands by thinking we must have the same career at 22 that we do at 42 and 62.

It goes like this:

We got to school as children.  Then the government suddenly tells us we are adults, and we are to choose a college major that will guide the rest of our lives down the path of our soul-career.  We are supposed to spend 40 hours a week for the next 40 years in this one and only job.  Then we retire and do all the things we’ve always wanted to do.

There are 3 massive problems with this “Soul-Career” concept:

  1. At 18 or 19 or 20 years old, most people still don’t know enough about themselves to confidently choose one career for the rest of their lives.
  2. People change throughout the years.  The person I was 5 years ago is not the exact same person I am today.  The person I’ll be in 20 years – I can’t even imagine who she’ll be!
  3. Hating what you do everyday and praying that retirement comes quickly sounds like a good way to miss out on way too many years of your life.

This is why I think we should drop the concept of the soul-career.  Instead, we should embrace the idea that there may be more fish in the career sea!  Sure, there are some lucky folks who grow up knowing exactly what they want to do for their entire lives.  They confidently choose their major, soar through their careers, and feel sad to leave at retirement.

Then there is the rest of us.  Maybe we don’t know what are passions are, or maybe we have so many passions we don’t know how to choose, or maybe our passions and interests change a lot.  How do we choose our college majors and careers?  What if we’ve already chosen, but want to change our minds?

If you are one of these people, like I am, maybe we aren’t soul-career-ers.  And that is perfectly okay. Here’s the deal for us:

  • You only need to take the next right career step at at time.  Take step 1, then step 2, and don’t try to jump to step 312.  You’re not there yet.  You won’t be there for years. What is going to pay the bills and nicely support you and your family?  What are you good at and interested in right now?  Do those things.
  • If you end up hating the college major or career path you’ve chosen, don’t stay stuck. Get creative.  How can you combine your the education or experience you do have with the path you’d rather go down now?  Maybe you’ve studied medicine for years and hate it, and you want to be a writer.  You could easily write for health companies and market health and medicine as your niche.
  • Sometimes you just yell “Plot Twist!” and change your career: As long as you’re taking care of your responsibilities, the world is yours.  Why feel obligated to stick to one idea? Yes, it will take some hard work and extra time, probably some extra learning and dedication too.  But you are not bound to any one career forever.  For inspiration, here’s a list of 13 awesome people who did a huge career change.

So my friends –

If you are currently making the college major choice with fear in your eyes.  BREATHE.

If you are starting a new job and have no idea if you can make it into your career.  BREATHE.

If you are a few years in and like it, but wonder if there is something else out there.  BREATHE.

If you flat-out hate your career and want to switch.  BREATHE.

If you’re a parent who wants to dump the career to be a full-time parent. BREATHE.

Then remember –

There are seasons in life.  Winter doesn’t have to look the same as spring.

You. Are. Not. Stuck.  Be bold and be brave.  And lose the idea of a “Soul-Career” – there are so many other fish in the career sea.

P.S. – I love writing.  I thought I would write 80% of the time and edit 20% of the time.  That’s changing.  I’m finding that I like the balance of about 60% editing work and 40% writing work.  Also, someday I may teach.  Also, someday I’d like to be an activist.  Also, someday……..

soul_career

Taking a Gratitude Chill Pill

Taking a Gratitude Chill Pill

gratitude

I was full of worry today.  All the “What if”s any new business-owner, traveller, woman, or human could imagine began floating through my over-analyzing brain.  I did this all worrying while listening to a back episode of the wonderfully inspiring “The Lively Show” podcast.  Right in the midst of my “What if” panic attack, Jess Lively said “let your ego totally get a chill pill.” Is that not the best?!

She reminded her listeners that one moment is not necessarily any better than another moment, but right now it is the only moment we have.  This one is good enough.

My ego’s best chill pill is gratitude.

I was flooded with gratitude for this moment I’m living in.  I don’t need to be the best.  I don’t even need to be one of the best.  My ego tells me that I do.  But it’s wrong, and it needs to chill.  All I need is to be fully awake in this moment.  The rest is just details.  Maybe I’ll never be a massively successful anything, but I will have been grateful for and aware of the beauty life kept handing me.

My friends, my cup overflows.  I’m bursting with thankfulness this Thanksgiving for everything this year has given me.

— I graduated with my beloved English degree this year! I wanted that degree since I was a young teen. It took me a while and some twists and turns, but I did it.  gratitude

— I went to New York City for the first (but definitely not last) time.Times_Square

— I co-hosted a local event for young women to inspire creativity and embrace our worthiness.

women

— I went on a Mexican cruise with my family.

drinks

— I started a career as a freelance writer and editor.  People pay me to write and edit things for them. Whoa!

— I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time.

grand_canyon

— I moved to Costa Rica right next to the beach.  Enough said!

costa_rica

— I took so many lovely yoga classes.

— I’ve read books that opened my mind and books that entertained me.

— I’ve started new friendships and deepened others.

— I fell more madly in love with The Boyfriend – and by moving to a foreign country together, grew and strengthened our relationship. He’s just marvelous.

costa_rica

So my ego needs to chill a bit.  Instead of a panicked “What if…?!?!?!” – I’m flipping the script and saying, “Look at what life has already offered me!”

Have you been there – when your ego freaks you out and convinces you that you have to do everything and be everyone in order to have a full life? Does your ego need a gratitude chill pill too?  Welcome to the club :)

The truth is, doing everything and being everyone will only get you into a harried mess. We need to drown our ego with gratitude for everything we already have and who we already are in this very moment.  Let’s practice.  Just leave a short (or long!) list of gratitude in the comments!!  Let’s fill up the comment section with a gratitude overflow.

Happy Thanksgiving, reader friends.

Tay xo

Ladies, You Need to Follow Your Arrow

Ladies, You Need to Follow Your Arrow

arrow

Have you ever had a moment in your life when you realize, I mean deeply and terrifyingly realize, that you’ve gone way off track?  You knew who you were at one point in your life, but the person inhabiting your body now is foreign to you.  Mama always said to not talk to strangers and yet, somehow, you’re that stranger.

I would look at my hands and think, “Yes, these are Taylor’s hands.”  I would hear myself speak and think, “Yes, this is Taylor’s voice.”  But I examined the life I was living and thought, “Who the hell is this woman?”

This important, yet freaky realization typically comes at rock bottom.  The end of your rope.  Fortunately, that’s the same spot where inspiration typically comes knocking.  For me, inspiration peaked its head around the corner in the form of a Facebook photo quote a couple years ago.  This exact one:

Follow Your Arrow

 

Arrow.  Focus.  Launch.  Aim.  These words resonated with me, so I latched on to them.  There was something there for me in the midst of the muck.  I was backward, and I was being dragged by difficulties.  So the thought of being launched into something great was fine by me!!

Enter Kasey Musgraves.  About the same time as my “Who Am I?” meltdown, the country singer published this tune called “Follow Your Arrow.”  It goes like this:

If you save yourself for marriage
You’re a bore
If you don’t save yourself for marriage
You’re a whore-able person
If you won’t have a drink
Then you’re a prude
But they’ll call you a drunk
As soon as you down the first one

If you can’t lose the weight
Then you’re just fat
But if you lose too much
Then you’re on crack
You’re damned if you do
And you’re damned if you don’t
So you might as well just do
Whatever you want
So

(Chorus) Make lots of noise
Kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots of girls
If that’s something you’re into
When the straight and narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint, or don’t
Just follow your arrow
Wherever it points

If you don’t go to church
You’ll go to hell
If you’re the first one
On the front row
You’re self-righteous
Son of a-
Can’t win for losing
You’ll just disappoint ’em
Just ’cause you can’t beat ’em
Don’t mean you should join ’em

(Chorus)

Say what you think
Love who you love
‘Cause you just get
So many trips ’round the sun
Yeah, you only
Only live once

(Chorus)
And follow your arrow
Wherever it points

The song is clever and comical, but it makes an important point.  People want lots of conflicting things from us.  We need to be good, but not too good.  Skinny, but not too skinny.  Educated, but only in the “right” fields.  When we play into that, we start pretending. Before we know it, we get to that point where we don’t even know who we are.

There is so much talk about going out and FINDING yourself.  But I think sometimes we’ve already been found.  Our natural tendencies and desires, the things that make our eyes light up and our hearts beat a little more quickly – we know those things deep down, or at least we have an inkling. Maybe it’s not only about finding the pieces of who we are; maybe we also need to drop the pieces of who we are not.  What’s left is your arrow.

arrow

My “Arrow” came to represent the real, deep, nitty-gritty Taylor and all my dreams and plans – minus the pretending and role-playing.  Lo and behold, once I started following that arrow, I found out that my life was really interesting TO ME, and I genuinely loved it.

It is THIS concept that has urged me on to create The Interesting Project.  I’m getting close to launching a workbook that helps young women (18-30ish) follow their own arrows by pursuing interesting lives that THEY love. As part of this project, I will also offer free goodies, some blog posts, and newsletters to aid in the process.

I know what it’s like to forget about your arrow. I know what it’s like to be pulled backward from life’s difficulties. But I also know what it’s like when you follow that arrow and really start pursuing an interesting life you love. THAT is what I want for my fellow ladies.

If you are a young woman wanting to move from thinking about your dreams into LIVING your dreams, The Interesting Project will be for you.  Please subscribe to my new newsletter right here, and you will be updated as soon as The Interesting Project Workbook and all the other cool stuff is available.

Remember, my friends, your arrow is there. Follow it wherever it points!

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Why I Choose Integrity Over Profit In My Business

Why I Choose Integrity Over Profit In My Business

Why i Choose Integrity Over Profit In My Business

Being a writer/editor is rewarding, enjoyable, and sometimes even glamorous (and sometimes SO NOT glamorous). That’s all you can ask for, right?  Wrong! You can also ask for money! I have said it before, I’ll say it again: the word “starving” is not required before the word “artist.” Creatives don’t need to suffer in order to produce awesome work!

But.  (There’s always a but….)

Since I don’t believe money is naturally good or bad, we need to know when money acts as a good thing and when money acts a bad thing.

In my life and particularly my creative business, money acts as a bad thing the second I choose profit over integrity. That is why I have decided that the foundation of my business is and must always be integrity. It will be the ground I walk on as I grow, expand, succeed, fail, and succeed again.

Why I Choose Integrity Over Profit In My Business
Story time:

I recently landed a job (yay!) as a social media manager and content writer for a company, working only a couple hours a week. Without sharing many details, this company sells a consumable product with an all-natural ingredient that has a long list of benefits. As a proud hippie, I’m all about all-natural health products, so I was EAGER to create their content.

I spent a couple hours talking about specifics and negotiating my prices. Then I was hired.  I love being hired as a freelancer. I become giddy. But the giddy ended quickly after I immediately did more research on this super ingredient and found it has traditionally been used as an abortifacient and can cause heavy menstrual bleeding.

Women are my audience! Women’s issues are my issues! I want women to be healthy and safe.  Thus – I can’t work for a business with a product that can terminate a woman’s pregnancy and bring other potential harm to her health.

They were going to pay me good money, and I turned it down.  Honest moment: there was a twinge of sadness that I’d be losing decent weekly income from easy work I enjoyed doing. The Boyfriend had to take me out for a drink that night. And don’t think I didn’t try to think of other possibilities like “Well I’m not technically SELLING the product…”  But no! NO!

In her book Rising Strong, Brene Brown brilliantly gives her definition of integrity:

“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”

If I had kept that job, I would have been comforted by the fun, fast weekly paycheck. I’m a freelancer – any amount of money feels like a squishy pillow to rest my crazy head.  But I can’t talk about fighting for women and then work for a company that goes against what I want to see for women  – healthy lives!

My fellow creatives and business owners and human beings:

If we get rich, but lose our integrity – what was it for?

If we choose comfort, but lose our courage – what was it for?

If we choose what is fun, fast, or easy, but lose what is right – what is it for?

If we profess values, but don’t practice them – what was it for?

Profit is great and necessary. But profit means nothing if we lose who we are.  As for me and my business, we’re gonna take the hit every time.  Anybody else in?

Here’s our manifesto:

The Integrity Over Profit Manifesto

What does integrity mean to you?  Let me know in the comments!

This Blog is My Fight Song

This Blog is My Fight Song

blog_write

Why blog?  They ask all the time.  The store clerks, blackjack dealers (Vegas girl), professors, strangers, coffee shop owners.  Why even bother writing in a flooded market?  Why waste the time?  Why not make the big bucks?

My only answer: Because I have to.  I have to write.  I have to speak.  But the artist Rachel Platten gave me better, more elegant and poetic words to describe this phenomenon through”Fight Song.”

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

I know I’m that small boat in a very big ocean.  I know I’m a single word, and only one match. But here’s the thing!  I’m full of those wrecking balls she sings about.  They are the words I didn’t say for too long.  I spent years of my life feeling silenced.  Literally being told to shut my mouth because God values men’s thoughts more than women’s thoughts.  And I can’t do that any longer.

So I will write.  And you may or may not read.  But I will write.  Because this is my fight song. I’m taking back my life and I’m showing it off.  I got to wake up one morning as a 22-year-old and say “I’m going to fight to make my life the best life possible.”  Two years later and I’m still doing that.  You can too. This blog stands as documentation that I have fought and will fight for a beautiful life.

What’s your fight song?

Featured Image by the lovely and talented Bethany Paige Photography